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Clannad’s Storyline Explained


Clannad fans have prepared an explanatory diagram which lays out the storyline of Clannad and Clannad After Story in detail; certainly a handy thing considering how convoluted they appear.

This has found its way onto the Japanese Internet, and even 2ch approves of the diagram…

Needless to say, the diagram contains immense spoilers:


Light orbs? Time travel? Wasn’t this a school romance? At any rate, there is no arguing with its huge popularity… “Clannad is Life“, indeed.

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  • Timeline 1: Misae Route
    Timeline 2: Tomoyo Route
    Timeline 3: Yukine Route
    Timeline 4: Kyou Route
    Timeline 5: Kappei Route
    Timeline 6: Sunohara Route
    Timeline 7: Kotomi Route
    Timeline 8: Fuuko Route
    Timeline 9: Koumura Route
    Timeline 10: Nagisa Route, Sanae arc, Yoshino arc, Ushio Route
    Timeline 11: Akio Route
    Timeline 12: As Tomoya has helped so many people in parallel worlds, the city performs a miracle and uses Tomoya’s orbs to make Nagisa survive. True end.
    Timeline 13: Baseball route \o/
    Timeline 14: KyoAni makes an anime adaptation and tries to fit ten/eleven timelines into a single consistent story (not sure if they integrated Koumura’s small route. They left out the whole character Kappei, so at least that one is gone).

    None of the Tomoyas know each other. The city sees everything. KyoAni tries to put inconsistent storylines together.

  • Anonymous says:

    *reads the comments halfway or so* Well, I like this anime, it depends on ones opinion of what’s good. I like the ending too. It’s not perfect, but it’s got a permanent place in my brain. Heck, I even cried, so that’s proof I like it.

  • I disagree with the posted Timeline as it doesn’t make sense with the anime presentation.

    Here is my own timeline

    Timeline 1 (never shown)
    Nagisa and Tomoya get together but Tomoya doesn’t help out anyone and Nagisa dies, Ushio dies later. Tomoya is transported back in time to the “Hill”;

    Timeline 2 (start time “Hill”)
    Nagisa and Tomoya get together and he helps out people but Nagisa dies because he doesn’t have enough orbs (but gets more later on). Fuko meets Ushio via Tomoya. Ushio later dies. Tomoya dies as well but is transported back in time to when Nagisa is in labor (in Timeline 2, both Nagisa and Tomoya seem to have memories of or are connect to a parallel world where Ushio exists in some alternate form)

    Timeline 3 (start time “Nagisa in labor”)
    Tomoya has enough orbs and is able to prevent Nagisa from dying. Ushio lives a healthy life. Fuko meets Ushio in the forest. Tomoya, Fuko, Ushio and Nagisa have a picnic in the forest.

    I disagree with the original posted timeline since if the after events when Nagisa died were actually part of the first Timeline1 then why do they continually reference people who would have been involved in the Drama Club? (which couldn’t have happened if Tomoya wasn’t helping them out as Timeline1 states).

  • Wow… Clannad’s ending is causing probably as much controversy as School Days -__-‘
    I personally really liked the series (whereas I HATED School Days) and I don’t find the need to bash on the ending or any part of it.
    I thought the ending was pretty much…. predictable? Clannad always had that magically feeling tied to it (especially with the alternative universe) so even if it wasn’t “time travel”, Tomoya could’ve just went to another identical world where Nagisa lives ^^
    So… I’m pretty satisfied with how it ended up and I really recommend =) Although I loved Kyou and I wish they could’ve expanded more on her character T___T

  • Takuya-kun says:

    idk wit you but my thoughts:

    i think people find the ending confusing because they think that ushio and the girl in the other world are exactly the same person.

    i think otherwise, i think the girl is just ushio’s counterpart in that world the same way the garbage doll is to tomoya but they are not the same entities. if you remember the concept of kotomi’s parents there exists many worlds and there can be some connection between these worlds but i doubt the same entity can exist in both

    a lot of people were waiting like when is ushio gonna die and become that girl? when the girl “died” we were confused coz were trying to find where it goes to that, but the thing is that girl only had an awareness of ushio and tomoya the same way tomoya had an awareness of the girl and the garbage doll, knowing that the garbage doll can have a connection with his real world counterpart, and knowing that tomoya had an awareness of the garbage doll’s experiences in the other world, she only did what was needed to relay the message of hope to tomoya

    but im really sure that time did turn back in the ending, using the power of the light orbs to grant a miracle

    so my conclusion:

    there is only 1 timeline is terms of how many real worlds exists, i doubt there is another real world which tomoya’s consciousness suddenly just gets transported to where nagisa is alive and the other one is where she is dead, there is only 1 real world

    there are 2 dimesions, the real world and the imaginary world, ushio is the counterpart of the girl as tomoya is to the garbage doll but they are not the same entities

    in that one real world timeline, time was turned back and events were changed in terms of nagisa surviving her delivery


    well just my 2 cents, ill be leaving these to the “experts”

  • Yes this diagram does clear some things up. Finished After story couple of hours ago and I’m pretty happy with the ending. Cheers for Clannad and it’s funny/sad/and enjoyable moment’s.

  • Wow, the ending was much better than I expected and am indeed glad that we got a happy end. Some of the things that were interesting to note was that:


    – Ushio was the girl in the first opening running though the sunflower field.

    – They brought back the light orbs and supernatural aspect back into the story.

    End of SPOILERS

    Overall, great Anime and definitely worth the watch. Though it is kinda sad at times and will force you to reexamine your life, especially when you are still in school and sucking at most things…


    I don’t know why i watched the series… ahh, ooh wait.. maybe for the anime characters? bahh that’s all.

    Another nonsense japanese anime with a stupid story which only japanese ppl can understand.

    lack of story like first person shooters..

  • People sure go out of their way to post their hate comments on Clannad don’t they? And they do it in a manner as if they’ve published a better story and attracted as many fans as Key has.

    I enjoyed how After Story turned out. It was one of those scenes that plays on emotional moments so well that people can look past rationality and consistency and still enjoy it.

    • Gotta love it when idiots use that as an excuse. YOU CAN’T CRITICIZE ______ BECAUSE YOU’VE NEVER MADE ANYTHING BETTER. Let me turn that retardation around on you: you’ve never made anything worse than Clannad, so you’re not allowed to sing its praises! Sounds ridiculous right? Well it’s using the same faulty logic.

      Listen, people are perfectly capable of criticism without being MASTER CREATORS at whatever it is they happen to be criticizing. I don’t have to be a brilliant composer to know I don’t like a song and why, and anyone who suggests otherwise should be criticized as being a dolt…but only by people who have managed to be stupider than them. ROLLEYES.GIF

      If people had to create something or be someone better than something or someone they don’t like before obtaining a license to criticize said noun, we’d all have to give glowing reviews of EVERYTHING. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to have to live in that world.

      The most ironic part of this vacuous arguement is that the very people who bring it up no doubt routinely criticise things at which they’re not particularly proficient, or in other words, “have never made anything better.”

      Yep, that makes you a hypocrite, buddy.

      Furthermore, it makes no difference how many emo faggots love Key. Popularity is not a universal quantifier of quality. NASCAR is beloved by millions and millions of people…does that automatically make it good? Everyone in the world used to believe that it was flat…did that make it flat? The answer to these and all questions like them is a resounding NO. In logical debate, this is what’s known as an ‘argumentum ad populum’ fallacy.

      tl;dr – You birdbrained teens need to turn away from the ever-present video screen in your life and read a goddamned book some time. That way you’ll actually have two brain cells to rub together, so you can actually come up with a cogent rebuttal when getting all defensive about your silly emo drama being flamed.

    • KajunBowser says:

      Of course, their lives aren’t complete without trolling over Clannad whenever any aspect of the franchise gets brought up. If all the data was backed up on FAKKU! for the last motemote, you’d see what I mean.

  • 1. Clannad and after Story are FTW
    2. After Story’s ending is pretty bad for me
    3. Key is badass VN maker, but i’m glad they did.
    4. hope now for Little Busters! anime or Tomoyo After OVA.

    5. *throw salt to troll*

  • As for myself, i thoroughly enjoyed the anime (I haven’t watched the visual novel completely yet).

    Anyways, I would’ve liked even more if it didn’t have all that supernatural stuff (and no fuko), it would’ve been way better, in my view anyways.

  • Lol @ Time Travel. Obviously some people didn’t get the storyline.
    Remember the Super String theory? Remember Kotomi’s fucking arc? Remember how Ryou says that there are many alternate realities out there? Tomoya just jumped to another one where his wife and daughter doesn’t die, all the while saying “Good Bye fucking sadistic world.”

    It’s like Higurashi, except less gore and no killer lolis. lol time travel lol

  • In two word, it was because of the light orbs (that he collected after helping others) that the miracle happened and a time travelling was made. Hmmmm. That explaings everything. It wasn’t need the game’s scenario at the diagram to understand the plot.

  • First I was like, I wish Key had never existed, then the world would have less overly-melodramatic soap opera nonsense for emo teens with traumatic upbringings to watch in between cutting sessions.

    Then I was like, wait, but then I’d never have been able to watch…

    I thought about it for a minute, and I couldn’t think of a single thing Key has done that I’d give a damn about if it were gone.

    Therefore: burn, Key, burn.


  • softbanker says:

    To Marine-RX179:
    > I never said I was superior just because I am not that emotionally attached to the anime. Yeah I was moved by the story and I was really entertained. And I almost read all your comments before I replied. All you talk is how REALLY confused you are with the ending and how really emotionally to were touched. geez that is sooooo boring. Some asked for it already and it was already answered tsk why ask again and discuss it over an over. You clannad fanboys has no mind of your own that you can’t make up your own judgment? Anyway, it was always been my favorite to argue with clannad fanboys. the most favorite was in FAKKU where we get to vote on a MOTEMOTE characters battle. It was really funny how clannad fanboys raged and cried when tomoyo lost againts a rosario+vampire vampire Moka.

    • Smiling MAgician says:

      then you’d be a fool. sorry but Clannad and After Story were consistently excellent in pretty much every episode (if memory serves me well) and yes the ending is ridiculously complicated and convoluted but killing Ushio was a fantastic idea. THey’re very good at giving you hope and then punching you in the face and the problem comes from where do they go from there. There’s probably another way they could have done that but i cant think of one off hand except “he dies of grief,” or “he leaves town and eventually kills himself.” Neither are satisfying. I mean hell, even AIR TV had some good come out of it.

  • This chart certainly fixed the huge wtf I had during the last episode. Yes I haven’t played the VN so I have no clue why episode 22 happened the way it did. I guess kyoani cutting out Tomoya’s death and making Ushio’s speech rather vague didn’t help matters as well. Well whatever it was fun to watch…albeit confusing.

  • …AHHH?!
    Alright, it seems ok for the most part (although it confirmed my suspicions that Tomoya dies in the Eroge… major spoiler there >.<)
    Anyway, I got a question: Was Nagisa transported back in time as well? The remark “I was worry that you might had thought it was better to never have met me” obviously indicates that she was very conscious of what Tomoya had just done… Wait I’m not even sure what the hell happened right after they reunited at the Hill again…
    And also, anyone know what the impending AS OVA might be about?

  • STill not sure why he needs to time travel, but heck 2ch is happy πŸ™‚

    then again, it’ll ne nice if…

    Tomoya meets Kyou in the kindergarten and romance develop. Kyou joins the family and happyily ever after XD

  • softbanker says:

    Go read some forums with Clannad topics and say something interesting that you think happened that wasn’t shown on the series like for example Tomoya boning all the girls and Sanae (Nagisa’s hot mom) giving tomoyo some hot loving after nagisa died. Its pretty entertaining reading their replies. It’s like their all suck into it and they are really emotionally sensitive about it.

    • oh wow you got me there!
      the only reason that attached me to this series is Ushio! shes such a good girl thinking of her makes me go Awwww~
      it really hurt me deeply when i found out that she died~ specially that damn dango kazoku playing in my head almost made me cry!
      but i was really happy that she was alive again!

      • Marine-RX179 says:

        repure you misunderstood softbanker’s post. He’s thinks that it is ridiculous for people to get attached to characters or stories.

        On our forum, when everyone is focusing on discussing about the last episode trying to make sense of some of the confusions, out of nowhere he posts stuffs about boning and sex, and that seem to be the main focus of all his posts. You can see him in all his immature glory on our forum:

        Also, he thinks that he is ‘superior’ to us because he kicks an anime aside as soon as he’s done watching it, instead of continuing to search for answers for unresolved questions like the majority of us.

  • A lot of people in the internet like to use the term Deus Ex Machine but a lot of those idiot doesn’t even know the meaning of the word.

    “For Example many people say that clannad ending is a Deus Ex Machine.”

    Look I don’t care if you are a troll or you hate the ending, but stop using Deus Ex Machine to describe everything that doesn’t make sense. It only proof that you are an idiot.

    Look you people know how to use the internet right?
    Then look and see what Deus Ex Machina really mean.

    • ninjabastard says:

      You do know you’re the only one using Deus Ex right?

      Secondly, while it’s not the machine Gods of Greece, the Clannad ending is definitely within the spirit of shit coming out of nowhere that is completely incongruent with the established plotline.

      You might want to read it yourself.

      So yes, I agree the time travel thing coming out of nowhere at the end of a school romance is fit to be labeled a “Deus ex” or because it’s Japanese “desu ex”.

      • It’s by absolutely no means incongruent with the established plotline. There were multiple allusions to the events of the final episode throughout the series. Kotomi’s parents had been researching the existence of multiple worlds. Tomoya suggested that Nagisa shared a mysterious connection with the town. It was mentioned more than once that when a moment of true happiness occurs, an orb of light appears. The entire Misae storyline dealt with the power to grant miracles possessed by the orbs. Just because the viewer wasn’t beaten about the face repeatedly with those facts does not mean that they weren’t established. It didn’t “come out of nowhere” any moreso than Fuuko’s route.

        • Anonymous says:

          “Why Tomoya’s father had to sacrifice all and Tomoya nothing?”

          Just finished Clannad. Tomoya did have to sacrifice. The events of suffering and pain were real. They really did happen. Sure they pulled a miracle on us, but I don’t think that the miracle made the events that happened not be.

          Think of it like this:

          If I draw a picture and then go back, erase it, and draw another picture, did I not still draw the first picture? Tomoya really did “live” that life of suffering and sacrifice. It is just that his past was erased and a better path was drawn over it by magic.

          The ending didn’t make everything a dream. Erasing a picture does not mean that the picture never existed. It just means that the picture is gone now. So Tomoya did suffer and became a changed man.

        • ninjabastard says:

          1) Don’t mix up something similar with something familar to you. Quantum phyics deals with probablities and choices which causes different timelines. This is time traveling caused by people’s thoughts, which created a different timeline.

          2) The story was a school girl romance, why are we talking about time travel again? oh yeah, because Clannd pulled this out of its ass. Yes, there were hints but it is stupid. Let me rephrase this, no you’re right it is not DE but its still stupid. And I was forgivening the “so srs!” drama but time travel is for a high school comedy is lame.

          3) You seem angry, there there. I’m sorry Clannad is serious business my mistake.

          I liked seeing people not die but it took a big amount bs to get there. But, its still no Sunrise so that’s a plus.

        • Ok, so it didn’t came out of nowehere. I’ll give you that. It still sucked. A slice of life anime with slice of life drama (No I don’t mean the stupid cat-boy or something like that) does not, in my opinion, combine well with such magical solution. In fact, it’s unfair for the other characters. Why did Nagisa shared a bond with the town? Why Tomoya’s father had to sacrifice all and Tomoya nothing ? (with the eventual pseudo-reset) Why didn’t Kotomi’s parents come back to life?

          This is the problem with lol dragon balls. When someone gets a second chance (out of nowhere, if Tomoya got one because of making other ppl happy, he wasn’t the only one doing that), you wonder why them and not others. “Cause they are the main characters” maybe.

          p.s: Fuko’s rant at the final minutes was irritating as hell.

      • Did you read what I wrote?
        I write the internet not sankaku.
        see you can’t even read.

        And if you watch clannad, they did mention about the string theory. which also involve Quantum physics which your put argument to moot.

        I bet you didn’t even know what quantum physics is right. There are hints about the ending ever since season season one. You just never bother about it, just as you never bother reading what I write. I mention people in the internet like to use the term “Deus Ex Machine” not Sankaku.

  • The ending sucked. They should have left it at “Tomoya learns through the hardships that family is the most important thing in life” and “he’s been selfish but finally realizes, thanks to all the ppl he met, how his father sacrificed everything to raise him and how happy he was with Nagisa and now Ushio”

  • Firstly, a big unapologetic FUCK YOU to all those anons who come here bashing for the sake of bashing. Don’t you have anything better to do than sit there on your fucking ivory tower of lolicon animes and acting all so smart?

    Sure, the ending is confusing, but seriously, these Illusionary World segments have been around since episode 1, you should have seen it coming, where the ending will involve the supernatural.

  • I did not expect time travel at all… It does connect things together but why introduce it?

    Did anyone watch the movie Primer? The movie specifically dealt with time travel and was so confusing it needed its own time travel chart. Clannad’s eerily looks like it.

    I’m not against Clannad though. The series is still spectacular and there were moments i wanted to shed man tears.

    • Well, in the anime he travels in time, but remember that it is based on a “video game”. To get the good ending you could replay the game and collect a bunch of magic glowing lights.

      So really, he didn’t travel in time, he reset his playstation.

  • the last episode of after story was indeed pretty descent to say the least..
    i know that there are a lot of questions that needs to be answered like the robot who was actually tomoya and the girl is in fact ushio etc.. but i didnt care anymore a long as ushio and nagisa lives then damn screw it just keep them that way and dont kill em no more!

  • You do realize this anime was based off a VN right? Non-ero VN mostly… in other words, you’d only play it for the storyline so you can cry like a little bitch. Once you’re done with a specific route (get the 300hr guide) you receive a light orb that’s displayed on the title screen.

    Get all the lights, unlock the true/happy end, mind gets blown. Though they didn’t animate the route where sunohara gets confused and almost turns gay… have to hope they turn that into an OVA.

    • I think they referenced that storyline in episode 23 of the first series (Mei was kind of fantasizing about TomoyaXYouhei, IIRC). Seems like the OVA, if we get one (which to my knowledge has not yet been announced), is mostly likely to be Kyou or (maybe) Kappei.